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Exploring children’s encounters with ‘the political’ at home: early findings from a comparative ethnography on childhood and public life

Sevasti-Melissa Nolas (University of Sussex)

Date: Wednesday 8th March 2017

Time: 1pm - 2.30pm

Venue: C1.11/15

The importance of political talk for democratic well-being, and its endurance over time, has long been established both theoretically and empirically. The role of political talk is also a recognised mediator of political socialisation, and children’s initial encounters with the political. In this presentation, I explore the dynamics of political talk in family life with a particular focus on the temporality of political talk. Drawing on a sub-sample of families from a comparative ethnography exploring the relationships between childhood and public life in three cities (Athens, Hyderabad, London), I explore what political talk looks like across generations and in particular how it emerges in the lives of younger children. The analysis contributes to an understanding of the emergence and dynamics of political talk across time and suggests that before political talk becomes categorised as such, it often emerges in gestures that eschew easy categorisation.


Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Sussex and the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded Connectors Study, a study that looks at the relationship between childhood and public life. She has carried out research on systems for social support especially for children, young people and families experiencing difficulties in their lives (domestic violence, social exclusion, and mental health) and has written on the lived experience of participating in such support systems. Her recent research has turned towards understanding encounters, experiences, and engagements with ’the political’ in everyday childhoods and family life in different national-cultural contexts. You can read more about the Connectors Study here: